Opposition picks Dalit ex-LS speaker Meira Kumar as Prez candidate

Published Jun 22, 2017, 5:34 pm IST
Updated Jun 22, 2017, 7:14 pm IST
Notably, Meira Kumar had met Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday fuelling speculations that she was the forerunner in the race.
Former Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar (Photo: File)
 Former Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar (Photo: File)

New Delhi: After much hype over the Opposition Presidential candidate, former Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar has been fielded against NDA's Ram Nath Kovind.

The decision was taken on Thursday at the Opposition parties meet headed by Congress president Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi.


The meeting was attended by all 17 political parties who have unanimously proposed the name of Meira Kumar as their candidate, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said.

Notably, both NDA and the Opposition have fielded Dalit candidate for the top most post of the Indian constitution.

Speaking to media after the meeting, Sonia Gandhi appealed to all other opposition parties to support them.

Meanwhile, RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav said he would visit Patna and asked Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar to reconsider his support to NDA Presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind.

He said, “Will meet him (Nitish Kumar) tomorrow. Ask him to think, should not do a historical mistake, your decision is wrong.”

Lalu Yadav further said that his party would not break alliance with JD(U) in Bihar.

Bahujan Samajwadi Party also extended its support to Meira as their Presidential candidate. BSP leader Satish Mishra said, “Chief Mayawati gave her consent for the name which came in the opposition meet.”

Dr B R Ambedkar’s grand son Prakash Ambedkar, ex-diplomat Gopal Krishna Gandhi and ex-home minister Sushil Kumar were the few names along with former Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar that were making rounds before the Opposition meeting on Thursday.

NDA, earlier this week, had nominated former Bihar Governor and Dalit leader Ram Nath Kovind as their Presidential candidate. Kovind’s Dalit background had made him a candidate that political parties cannot afford to reject, even more so with his added credentials of being a crusader for the Scheduled castes and OBCs.

The election for the next President of India is to be held on July 17 as President Pranab Mukherjee will demit the office on July 24.

The Election Commission of India (ECI) issued the notification in this regard and the process of the nomination has started that will continue till June 28.

More about Meira Kumar:

Born in Bihar, Meira Kumar is the daughter of former Deputy Prime Minister and prominent Dalit leader, Jagjivan Ram, and a freedom fighter, Indrani Devi.

She made her debut into politics in 1985 and was elected from Bijnor in Uttar Pradesh, defeating political heavyweights like Ram Vilas Paswan and Mayawati, two powerful Dalit leaders.

Kumar was elected unopposed as the first woman Speaker of Lok Sabha and served from 2009 to 2014.

She served as a Cabinet Minister in the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment of Manmohan Singh's Congress led Government from 2004–2009.

Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi